Making Friends:

Tom and Christina King of Inglewood, California

By Shannon W. Ostler

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    Tom (8) and Christina (7) King of Inglewood, California, are following the counsel of a prophet by learning to speak Thai.

    President Spencer W. Kimball counseled Church members to prepare their children to someday serve missions in China (and other such countries) when it is opened to the missionaries and the gospel. Sister King remembered this counsel and arranged for her children to take Thai lessons three times a week from Benja Peterson, a member of their ward from Thailand. Although Thai is not spoken in China, it is very similar to Chinese, so being able to speak one language would make it easier to learn the other. In the Thai language, which used to be known as Siamese, many words sound almost the same; the tone of the speaker’s voice is what gives the words different meanings. Because Thai has some vowel sounds that the English language doesn’t have, it is very difficult to learn how to pronounce the words correctly. (Thai has 30 vowels and 44 consonants.)

    Learning a new language is only one of the many projects that keep Tom and Christina busy. Both play the piano, often playing duets with each other or with their mother. Tom has even accompanied programs at school and at Primary.

    Tom and Christina are CTRs in their Westchester Second Ward Primary, and they attend Paseo del Rey Fundamental School. Christina enjoys school and likes to help her teachers set up class before it begins. Her favorite subject is art, and she and Tom made a family flag for a special 24th of July parade in their stake last summer. Christina also likes tap dancing, skating, reading, helping her mother cook, sewing, and playing with her dolls. Sometimes Christina makes her own dolls and doll clothes.

    Another one of Christina’s favorite things to do is dress up in costumes. She and Tom sometimes make up plays and act them out. All they need for a theater are some large boxes and a little imagination.

    Tom likes science, reading, hiking, swimming, and collecting rocks and seeds. He is a Cub Scout, and he especially enjoys building projects out of wood, clay, and other materials. Tom is also teaching himself to type, and he works hard to get each lesson perfect before going on to the next one.

    Photos by Shannon W. Ostler and Shauna Mooney

    1. Picking lemons from your own backyard lemon tree is a lot handier than having to go to a store.

    2. Tom and Christina enjoy an afternoon at the park with their mom, Zina, and their dad, Forrest.

    3. Christina demonstrates a few tap-dancing steps.

    4. Tom practices his typing skills, working to get each word perfect.

    5. Tom tries out a new design for his fort.

    6. Tom and Christina sing “I Am a Child of God” in Thai.

    7. Christina likes to play with her dolls and other toys.

    8. Tom and Christina at the park

    9. Christina helps fix sandwiches for a family picnic.

    10. Tom gets ready for his dramatic play, “The Killing of the Dead Robber.”

    11. Christina and her dolls, including “Mary Anna,” which she made

    12. Tom inspects his collection of clay handicrafts.